Six on Saturday – Older and Wiser

Here we go again, the world is another year older, another year wiser.  One out of two aint bad.   And of course, the first Six on Saturday of the year.  Check out what is happening in the rest of the world, SoS-wise, over at The Prop’s.  If you have a New Year’s resolution going spare you could join the slightly-dysfunctional-but-ever-so-charming gang of reprobates.  It’s not that bad.

It was a tricky SoS this week.  Outside was cold and windy, all was uninspiring and there was no chocolate whatsoever, believe me I searched really, really hard until I had to rush inside for an After Eight.  Repeats are inevitable.  I am hoping that you can forgive or have forgotten.

We begin with one of my bedding primulas.  The recent milder weather and kind winds have meant that there is a relatively unblemished flower to show you.  I am rather fond of its pale notched rim and sunny eye.

Next we have Fuchsia “Bornemann’s Beste” which was rocking and rolling in the wind giving me good excuse for a blurry photo.  It was a late starter and has flowered continually since September.  For this I thank it.

Now a pot of deceased New Guinea Impatiens which on closer inspection appear to have been planted on top of tulips.  I think they might be ‘Blue Diamond’.  There are also some mysterious monocot seedlings. As it is located beneath the Libertia grandiflora, it could well be them.  But I have been known to be wrong about such things.

Onto the bulls eye berries of Rhodotypos scandens, stark in the gloom of the front garden.  I’ve never seen a bird dining on this shrub, I wonder if they are less than delicious.  I’m not going to try them out.

And then onto the valiant Osteospermum ‘JK’, spilling over the potted yew.

Finally a nestling fern, wedged between the rocks of our boundary wall.  I think it is a maidenhead spleenwort, a name that starts off Barbara Cartland and ends up Harry Potter.  It is a lovely little green octopus.

That is me done.  Until next time.

 

 

 

The Great Photo Sorting Season

The Great Photo Sorting Season is now open!

When I say “open” I mean “I’ve been thinking about it without doing anything terribly constructive”.

My first delve into the recent past is a stunning Iris ensata.  This photo was taken on a July visit to Marwood Hill Gardens with my pal Deb.  If you wish to reminisce along with me check out my post Friendship.  It was a wonderful day, although I really should have written down the name of this beauty.  I will have to pop back to find out.  As anyone who knows this garden will know, it won’t be a great hardship.

 

Renewal

Today we went for a walk.  This is an example of the crazy things I have got planned for my month long sabbatical.  It was nice.  We may well do it again.

One of the first things we saw was large fallen tree, a beech perhaps but difficult to positively identify without scrabbling and a festive excess of cheese and pringles has rendered this impossible.  It had crashed into another on its unfortunate descent, felling a further substantial specimen as it toppled.   We need more trees not less, I thought.  Although not surprised, the high winds and wet soil often add up to unstable footings, the sight did make me feel a bit sad.

Then, as we wandered around the garden where OH used to work, we came across plants that he had put in more than 7 years ago.  A three metre high Leptospermum grandiflorum, grown from seed I collected from Marwood Hill Gardens, a Crinodendron hookerianum now a fine looking large specimen, a dozen fruit trees all maturing well, a silver birch past the lanky teenage stage, amongst many others.  And I thought, a good job.   In our own way, as gardeners, we help to renew, to replant and to take up the slack.  We may not be as good as Mother Nature, but we do our best.

Trees fall, it is the nature of things.  If left to their own devices they may well rejuvenate from the rootball, any dead will provide a new ecosystem for all manner of birds and beasties, fungi and fauna, and ultimately will feed the soil it lies upon.  All is not lost.  Often a tragedy is not as fruitless as it first appears.

Which brings me in a very round about, the taxi driver from hell, way to the year ahead, which is shuffling in the wings as I type.   We must all do what we can to find positives amongst the many negatives.  To keep on doing what we can to make this a better world.  To spread the love.  To renew and replant, to take up the slack.  All is not lost.  I am hoping so anyway.

And I wish you all a fabulous 2020, filled with fulfilment and joy and of course love.  And if you feel so inclined, get out there and plant some things.

 

An Alternative Christmas Message (no corgis)

It is nearly here.  Whether you immerse yourself completely in the festivities or hole up in a cave on top of Ben Nevis until it is all over, tomorrow is Christmas Day.  Personally I love it, although I can understand why people distance themselves from the excesses and unnecessary pressures.   I love it because it is the time of the year when people seem less embarrassed, not so self-conscious, to be nice to one another.  Not everyone, that is true.  At this very moment the food hall of M&S might be a little less kindly, sharpened knitting needles may be involved.   But many do find it within themselves to be more thoughtful and empathetic, to smile at strangers and wish happiness and merriment to people they have only just met. To link arms and sing songs about peace and joy. And I like that very much.  It shows great potential for western civilisation.*

Enjoy yourselves whichever route you are taking.  And I wish you and yours a splendid 2020.  Keep the faith, whatever that might be.

* Philosophy thanks to The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame’

This beauty is Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame” with its exotic flowers that remind me of tropical birds of paradise or perhaps scorching uncut toenails.  Take your pick.  One image is definitely more attractive than the other.

Which ever you decide upon, it is a fabulous shrub and hardier than its fancy plumage would suggest.   I have decided to dwell upon the avian simile.

 

 

A Solstice Six on Saturday

In the northern hemisphere, tomorrow is the winter solstice.  It is a time of optimism, an opportunity shout “up yours” to winter and, whilst shaking an angry fist, “your reign is nearly over Baby”.  The currently submissive Day will begin to nibble at the dominant Night, slowly at first, getting hungrier as the weeks pass.  Before we know it spring will be making its welcome presence felt and we will have more hours of light to practice our noble profession.  Some perhaps not so noble.   It might take a while but at least we are the right road.  Before our very own Arch Druid, The Prop, starts prancing about in the altogether around the local football pitch, you could pop on over to his blog and find out what everyone else is up to.  I would keep your clothes on though, ’til tomorrow anyway.  Shall we proceed with SoSing?

First we have a viola, looking a little bit sad but soldiering on valiantly.  They usually have a nap through the worst of the winter, returning triumphant as the season wanes.  Although not vigorous these are popping open flowers on a regular basis.  It is much appreciated.

Next we have a swelling seed pop of Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’.  This little shrub has been flowering continually through hell and highwater.  Literally.  It is the first time I have noticed it setting seed and am keeping half an eye on its progression.  This might not be enough; I must be more vigilant.

Onto one of the bedding primulas which are planted in the Belfast sink at the front of the house.   The incessant harsh weather seems to have melted the petals.  Interesting.

Now a feisty soul, this pelargonium still battling through, deliciously dark flowered and edged with raspberry.

And the plucky Nerine undulata, bowed and ragged.   You can’t knock the intent.  Do you get points for “trying hard”?  I certainly hope so, both for the nerine and myself.

And lastly, the world.  Every year I buy at least one new decoration for our overladen tree.  This year it is a globe.  It appears that it is being pecked at by a gigantic bird.  Unfortunately, that is the least of its problems.

Happy solstice everyone, the only way is up!

 

 

Grumpy

In our house we are very happy that the wind has changed direction.   As I type I am accompanied by a roaring, whistling, splashing medley.  Much mischief is occurring in the back garden, where the weather is doing its utmost to uproot plants, dishevel pots and flatten the shed which is being held up by ivy and good intentions.  On the other side all is relative calm.  As our bedroom is at the front of the house, this means that our night will be a quiet one.  The windows will not rattle and creak while I lay alert planning what to do if they fall in, the floor boards will not shudder in authentic haunted house manner and we will hopefully sleep the sleep of the innocent.  Which is good for everyone.  I am very grumpy if I don’t get my sleep.

I was quite the opposite of grumpy when I spotted this little rose flowering at The Bun’s today.  So sweet, so vulnerable, I wonder if it will be there in the morning.